ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Manufacturing is a key driver of economic growth, and the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized it again today when SBA Administrator Karen Mills toured Alle-Kiski Industries in Allegheny Township this morning.
“Small manufacturers are vital to the supply chain,” said Administrator Mills as she toured the plant and met with employees. She went on to say that Alle-Kiski Industries' flexibility and expertise allow them to support larger manufacturers.
Alle-Kiski Industries was chosen for this prestigious site visit for many reasons, including its growth, its resilience during the recession, and the SBA loans it received. After purchasing a struggling manufacturing plant scheduled for shut-down from its retiring owner in 2005, Kevin Hartford and Ed Newell grew Alle-Kiski Industries to $4.0 million in sales, 32 employees, and over 80 business accounts.
“We are a real success story. Without the SBA loans, we would never have gotten started and a whole lot of people would not be where they are today,” said Hartford.
Alle-Kiski Industries started with 6 employees, immediately hired 12 more skilled workers, and leveraged their financing into 24 jobs in four months. To meet rapidly increasing demand, Alle-Kiski added a second shift of workers within three months with the help of a working capital loan from Bridgeway Capital. Then in 2006, Alle-Kiski received a SBA 504 loan from Enterprise Bank and Bridgeway Capital to purchase the building from the company’s former owner. The building was transformed into a two-sided shop with 27,000 square feet of manufacturing space, with machining on one side and welding and fabricating on the other.
The company built its reputation by providing high quality products for its customers, and leveraged its “local” nature into a competitive advantage – personalized, high-level customer service, a supply chain of more than 20 shops, and flexibility with its customers.
"Alle-Kiski Industries meets a very unique niche in our region," said Mark Peterson, President of Bridgeway Capital. "Its dedication to quality and ability to focus on smaller, customized jobs is vital for its customers, and in turn drives growth in western Pennsylvania."
During the tour, Mills spent time talking about the importance of skills training for new employees into the manufacturing industry. It’s important for young people to realize that manufacturing is a viable industry, said Mills. “Manufacturing is alive and well and is creating jobs in this country.”
To help compete for those jobs, Alle-Kiski Industries offers competitive wages and benefits. Employees receive healthcare benefits (Alle-Kiski Industries pays 75 percent of the cost), disability insurance, and a 401K with a company match.
Today, Alle-Kiski Industries is a strong, stable and profitable enterprise that exemplifies the value of manufacturing and its strong foundation in western Pennsylvania. “Alle-Kiski Industries is really helping the economy,” said Administrator Mills.